Stars: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Armie Hammer, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Michael Sheen, Karl Glusman, Robert Aramayo, Laura Linney.
Director: Tom Ford
Screenplay: Tom Ford
Betrayal, loss, hurt, loneliness, fear, pain, joy, love, heartbreak. This film has all of this. Tom Ford's new film, Nocturnal Animals is nothing like A Single Man but it still centres upon losing that someone who made your life better–whether you realise that at the time or not.
There are many layers and stories here to work through; there is real life, there is reflections to the past, and there is fiction influenced by the past. Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is an artist in Los Angeles, married to a businessman Hutton Morrow (Armie Hammer) and she is unhappy. There is a distance between her and Hutton, and sadly she feels as though there is no meaning in her art. An obvious midlife crisis of the privilege to have everything they think they want only to realise that its not the key to happiness. Before she married Hutton, Susan was married to a young writer Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) but they soon divorced.
The day after her latest exhibition she receives a package from Edward, a proof of his latest book that is dedicated to her called Nocturnal Animals. As she reads we follow the story of Tony (played by Gyllenhaal) and his family—with an amazing nod to the fact that everyone gets Amy Adams and Isla Fisher confused—Wife Laura (Isla Fisher) and daughter Helen (Ellie Bamber). They are driven off the road by three threatening men who take Laura and Helen. At this point, both the real world and fictional world have the same weight in the film.
This film is glorious, it is filmed beautifully and the cast are perfection. I could watch Adams all day just sitting in silence staring into the distance. Michael Shannon plays a detective and I can finally understand people's obsession with his acting, next to Gyllenhaal he almost steals every scene—I'm not saying Gyllenhaal is not fantastic within this film but that is the power that Shannon on screen. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is another gem as Ray who kidnapped Tony's family, his ability to make you squirm and almost believe that you have accused the wrong man of this crime. This cast is slick and Ford gets the best out of them.
I could delve deeper but that may have to be in a rewatch because I am not quite sure where I would go them that type of analysis. But for a film that I heard many bad reviews for I was not just pleasantly surprised that it was good, I was amazed at its greatness. Tom Ford, two for two.